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High-Altitude Pulmonary Infarction

John E. Heffner, MD; Steven A. Sahn, MD
Arch Intern Med. 1981;141(12):1721. doi:10.1001/archinte.1981.00340130159038.
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To the Editor.  —High-altitude exposure has not been noted to produce pulmonary infarction in patients with S-C hemoglobinopathy. We describe a patient with S-C hemoglobin who had bilateral pulmonary infarctions develop during travel in an unpressurized aircraft.

Report of a Case.  —A 35-year-old black woman was transferred to the University of Colorado Health Sciences Center, Denver (elevation, 5,280 ft [1,609 m]) with dyspnea and diffuse muscle pain. She had been well three days earlier, when she noted the sudden onset of the previously mentioned symptoms while flying in an unpressurized aircraft at 16,000 ft (4,877 m). After several days of progressive symptoms at an elevation of 8,000 ft (2,438 m), she was transferred for evaluation of her condition.The patient's respirations were 35/min, and her temperature was 38.5 °C. The lower half of the chest was dull to percussion, with bronchial breath sounds. The abdomen was tender with a palpable


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